How much effort is spent on setting up a big infrastructure to support enterprise applications?
How much effort is required to develop, unit test, Integration test, regression test, user acceptance test, volume tests, planning and coordination is spent to make an enterprise application go-live?
How much does the operations teams needs to be involved to support these applications?
Well there is no simple answer, but I am sure it does mean a lot. Be it a cost, effort, complexity, business impact, it has a lots of value for the enterprise. After all that has been done, user calls the helpdesk to report that application is not accessible. Why? May be as simple as network issue. Is it simple issue? Well could be, but networks are really not that simple today. One need to find out, where and what in network is misbehaving.
This is just one example of such an issue. There could be many such cases where a big sophisticated application is not accessible because of such simple issues. Issues like
- Color combination for user interface.
- Usability of the application because of the design. Beautifully explained by Alexander Ilg in case of Why we need native mobile solutions (like the ones from Sybase).
- The failure of sophisticated monitoring setup, which is supposed to monitor the actual business application.
- Failure to keep the highly sophisticated and complex monitoring setup up-to-date to provide the right kind of alerts.
- And some others
The latest one happened in SAP Virtual Week 2010. I was an online participant. Unfortunately, I could attend the session during the week itself. I happened to listened to the session this week. There were technical issues e.g. Cracking audio, no audio, no video, no presentation, no demos etc. The issues happens and all the technical guys will agree to it. That is why there exist so many support contracts. But what was the impact?
- Sends a message that while we are talking about virtualization, cloud computing to showcase the world how everything just keeps on working with concepts of abstraction and elasticity, at the same time we are still struggling to tackle simple problems!!
- Loose the stage. e.g. One of the comment on the first presentation was, ” Virtualisation does not mean imagination!”. As there was just blank screen with a demo going on.
- Finally I receive a free online access to 2011 Virtual week. Hurray!! That was great. But to SAP as an organisation that meant about 20,000 USD. If I still keep the online enrolment fee at 100 USD for 200 users.
- To me personally, it weakens the confidence of business users/ end users in technology. It sends a signal that you (technological guys, including me) needs to learn basics first.
These were the few thoughts that re-surfaced after going through the SAP Virtual week sessions. It was a very good informative event overall. But, it raise the question, how do we build trust to manage the complex environment when the simple things can stop the whole show?